I've been a Dean supporter for a long time -- I first read about him over a year ago, before he had any campaign staff at all, just driving around New Hampshire speaking to anyone who would listen, talking about health care and balancing the budget. I saw a long article about him, and was very taken with the things he was saying, for many of the reasons that people would take to him later: he was pragmatic, forthright, and had picked some good key issues he wanted to focus on. This was a guy who could stand up and fight and win.
At the time, my work situation was looking shaky, and not-so-idly wondered if I shouldn't give up my job and volunteer to work for him like Donna Moss and end up working in the West Wing.
Last year my soul sister Alysse and I both contributed very heavily to his campaign, and I sent him some more money this month to keep things going. With Dean's campaign fading, and Kerry's star rising, we got to talking last week about whether we had wasted our money.
I always thought that Kerry was a potentially strong candidate. His war-hero / anti-war-hero one-two punch is mighty. I couldn't get behind him, though, because you'd look at what he was saying and ask what he stood for. Unlike Dean, and like the other Democrat candidates, I felt like he was so afraid of making a mistake that he hadn't really shown up. He wasn't a guy who I felt could be a vigorous enough candidate to win in '04.
That's not true any more. In the last few months, Kerry's rhetoric has gotten a lot stronger -- especially around Iraq, which had become Dean's signature issue -- and primary voters responded to it. Campaigning against Dean turned Kerry into a candidate with a chance of beating Bush in November.
I told Alysse we bought a change in the discourse. Money well spent.